Feb. 3, 2008— -- Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., this morning left open the possibility that, if elected, her government would garnish the wages of people who didn't comply with her health care plan. "We will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it's that or it's some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments," Clinton said in an appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos".
Clinton went on to say, though, that such mechanisms would not include penalties. "They don't have to pay fines … We want them to have insurance. We want it to be affordable. And what I have said is that there are a number of ways of doing that. Now, there's not just one way of getting to that."
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has raised questions about how Clinton intends to pay for and implement her universal health care plan. Clinton responded to her opponent, saying "The misleading information that Sen. Obama's campaign is putting out, that I will force people to do it even if they can't afford it, is absolutely untrue."
"It's so reminiscent of old 'Harry and Louise' talking about how, 'Oh, the sky will fall if we try to have universal health care.' He's playing right in to all of the arguments against this core value of the Democratic Party," she said in response to a recent Obama campaign mailer criticizing her plan.
Clinton also claimed Obama has mischaracterized her position on whether she would meet with Iranian and Syrian leaders if elected.
"Sen. Obama consistently misstates what I had said and really tries to gloss over his answer to a question in an early debate. The question was very specific -- would you, without precondition, meet with five of the worst dictators, including Ahmadinejad from Iran and others, without precondition, personally, as president? He said yes, I said no."
Describing it as "imperative," Clinton reiterated that she is open to direct contact with such countries. "I have said that. But it would be at low-level diplomatic efforts between our ambassadors and between our diplomats, because I don't think a president should put the prestige of the United States on the line to meet with these people unless you have some idea of what is going to happen."
"I'm always a little amused when Sen. Obama goes around quoting Pres. Kennedy, when he was running for the presidency, about how you should never be afraid to negotiate. But then if you look at the actual transcript of what Pres. Kennedy said in the debates with Vice Pres. Nixon, he said he would not meet with Khrushchev unless there had been a lot of groundwork laid. That is the appropriate position for the president of the United States to take ... I really hope that Sen. Obama will quit deliberately misstating what I said in order to avoid scrutiny for what he says," Clinton concluded.